Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley

The Water-Babies (original 1863; edition 1862)

by Charles Kingsley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,771343,972 (3.35)119
Title:The Water-Babies
Authors:Charles Kingsley
Info:The Readers Library
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, children's, Victorian, fairy tale, satire

Work details

The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley (1863)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 119 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
I think this short story is in one of the volumes of My Book House, which I own
I don't really remember much of it, except that it's really quite a strange story ( )
  barelyamiable | Apr 6, 2017 |
I had the hardest time reading this book. The wording is so off and the plot makes such little sense to me. I do not like it. ( )
  MeganTrue | Mar 18, 2017 |
This book was read to me when I was five years old, horrifying me then and ever since. As the story goes, chimneys were difficult to clean so they sent a small boy up inside it to do the cleaning. Why? It was his job. Why wasn't he in school? School was only for fortunate children. What did his parents do about it? No mention. Who looked after him? No one. Did the boys die up the chimney? Sometimes.

Then it goes on to describe babies in a weedy pond, the illustrations showing them peering out of their watery prison that is like a giant green goldfish bowl. I never found out why. Just how bad do you have to be to live in this world?

I have since found out the story was part of Kingley's "scientific theory" on human origins. Oh, perfect for a child's entertainment!

Kingsley was a priest of the Church of England and evidently believed that horror stories would keep his congregation into line. He was the worst kind of Victorian patriarch.

My grade one teacher has a lot to answer for by giving me this lifelong nightmare. ( )
2 vote VivienneR | Dec 7, 2016 |
Don't remember much about this now, but I read this several times in childhood. Reckon the last time would’ve been when I was eight or nine, circa 1983-4.

A must for all youngsters! ( )
  PhilSyphe | Oct 6, 2016 |
This isn't one of my all-time favorite children's books – far from it, and I'm not at all an admirer of Kingsley personally – and I'd ordinarily give it 3*** or, perhaps generously, 3½***; but this particular edition rates 5***** for the illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith, who in fact rates 5***** or at least near to it for just about every work of illustration she ever did! ( )
  CurrerBell | Sep 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (53 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Kingsleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Attwell, Mabel LucieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beards, Richard D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goble, WarwickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Italiander, MikeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnstone, Anne GrahameIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirk, Maria L.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacDonald, RobertaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mozley, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, W. HeathIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sambourne, LinleyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tarrant, Margaret W.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vihervaara, LyyliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wall Perné, Gust van deIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Once upon a time there was a little chimney-sweep, and his name was Tom.
No one has a right to say that no water-babies exist, till they have seen no water-babies existing.
And whither she went, thither she came.
It's so beautiful, it must be true!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Available online at The Hathi Trust:

Also available at The Internet Archive:

Also available at Project Gutenberg:
Haiku summary
Life after death? Yes!
Climbing-boy now wet infant,
somehow born-again.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486450007, Paperback)

A young chimney sweep enters a magical waterworld where he meets creatures that teach him the difference between right and wrong. Delightful characters such as Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby will enchant today's young readers just as they did well over a century ago. A lavish edition of a children's classic. 32 illustrations.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:22 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The adventures of Tom, a sooty little chimney sweep with a great longing to be clean, who is stolen by fairies and turned into a water baby.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.35)
0.5 2
1 10
1.5 6
2 25
2.5 10
3 73
3.5 12
4 58
4.5 3
5 39

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,310,646 books! | Top bar: Always visible